West Brom’s relegation fears escalated on Sunday afternoon as they were held to a draw by Newcastle.
The Baggies are now eight points from safety with ten games to go, failing to take the lead in that six-point relegation.
The draw is a blow to Sam Allardyce, who is at risk of his very first relegation to the Premier League this season.
Mbaye Diagne missed Albion’s best chance while Sam Johnstone refused Joe Willock to let the Magpies four points above the last three.
Albion boss Allardyce had called the game a must-have victory, but the Baggies haven’t done enough against their struggling comrades and, with ten games to go, are surely destined for an instant return to the championship.
The Newcastle soap opera arrived at The Hawthorns for its final episode after Matt Ritchie broke up midweek with Steve Bruce.
With the team’s foundations tested again, the Magpies had to keep their cool and they at least stopped Albion from gaining ground in the race for survival and climbed to 16th, a point above Brighton .
A point is unlikely to take away much heat from Bruce and the Magpies, who have won just twice in their last 15 games, continue to lack inspiration without injured Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron.
They had the advantage early, however, and Johnstone claimed Emil Krafth’s deflected strike before the visitors made the game’s first clear opening after 12 minutes.
Willock slipped into Joelinton and the forward edged Dara O’Shea only for Darnell Furlong’s excellent intervention to deny Ryan Fraser a tap-in.
Despite yet another attack on the Premier League over Albion’s schedule, Allardyce has named an unchanged side for a third game in a row 60 hours after Thursday’s loss to Everton.
It was clearly a bet, but they created some decent chances in the first half and Diagne did his best after Kyle Bartley played on Furlong’s long throw.
Matheus Pereira shot Martin Dubravka and the keeper then had to push Diagne’s header back nine minutes before the break.
Newcastle’s own threat had subsided as a disjointed half carried and Bruce rolled the dice just 11 minutes after the break when Dwight Gayle replaced Jeff Hendrick.
By then, Matt Phillips had already skied Conor Townsend cross to eight meters.
But Gayle – who spent the 2018/19 season on loan at the Baggies – almost made an instant impact by tasking Willock to test Johnstone at his nearby post on time.
As the Baggies started to tire, Newcastle exploited the extra space and Johnstone saved Joelinton with 20 minutes remaining.
Still, there was no winner and even when Albion pushed for a late goal, Newcastle survived.